A reader poses a good question in the Comments section for one of the posts about our broody hen:
We’ve got a broody hen and I don’t know what to do with her! My neighbor has told me I need either a bucket or a trap to get the hen ‘off the cluck’.
It is indeed hard to break a hen of her broodiness. Once she’s in full brood mode, she’s already stopped laying eggs. If you can catch her on the first day, she should start laying again in seven days. But if you don’t catch her and break her until the fourth day, it’ll be another 18 days or so before she begins laying again. We basically let our hen brood this time because (1) we had enough other hens to keep laying; (2) we had a bunch of fertile eggs we didn’t need to eat; and (3) it’s too much work to break a hen of broodiness — and we’ve never had much luck doing it.
- Don’t let eggs accumulate in the nest
- Repeatedly remove the hen from her nest
- Move or cover the nest so she can’t get in
- Move the hen to different housing
- Put the hen in a “broody coop,” which is a hanging cage with a wire or slat floor, for a few days.
How hard you work to break a broody hen will depend in part on why you’re raising chickens in the first place. If your egg production is tight, and you’re interested in nothing but eggs, and you have just a few hens, you’ll want to do everything you can to break her. You may even want to cull a persistent broody hen, if broodiness is a trait you do not want in your flock.